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Politics and International Relations (PIR): People


P. Trent Olsen

P. Trent Olsen
P. Trent Olsen
Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
Research Interests
Asylum, Human rights, identity politics, LGBT studies

PhD Research

I am researching the shift towards inclusive readings of the Refugee Convention to accept asylum claims on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. My thesis will investigate how changes in the asylum law of the United Kingdom have increasingly recognised the persecution of sexual minorities abroad, and how these legal changes reflect a growing domestic socio-political acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the UK. The primary focus is on the construction of legitimate (or “genuine”) sexual minority claims in the legal discourse and resulting exclusions. This stemmed from an initial interest in the reasons why states adopted broader interpretations of “particular social group” in the Convention definition of refugee. My work engages in the problematisation of the determination of refugee status and the ways identity and behaviour are represented in the case law. I am employing methods of socio-legal analysis to produce a contextual account of sexual minority asylum claims.


MSc (R) Politics, University of Edinburgh

B.A. Political Science, Arizona State University 


Prof. Christina Boswell

Prof. Sharon Cowan 

Research Group Membership

Migration and Citizenship 

Previous Experience


Asylum and Refugee Law and Policy (Honours), School of Law, on credibility and sexual orientation

US Government (Honours) on civil rights 


US Government (Honours)

Democracy in a Comparative Perspective

Introduction to Politics and International Relations 

International Cooperation in Europe and Beyond


Postgraduate Assistant to PG Advisor (Theory and Practice of Political Research)

Senior Course Tutor, Democracy in a Comparative Perspective


Panel Member, Children's Hearings Scotland